Imagine being able to send text or email messages to prospective buyers who drive by a home you have on the market. That’s easily done via new mobile and Bluetooth technology now available via Apple’s “iBeacon” feature.
“Micro-location” marketing makes use of tiny portable “beacons” affixed to yard signs or specific places in an open hour – anywhere you feel is a good place to attract a buyer – which automatically send pre-programmed notifications to compatible smartphones when they come within a certain distance of the beacon, anywhere from 10 to 100 feet. The notifications typically direct users to a particular page on your Web site about the home they are admiring.
Two examples of this cutting-edge technology are Beamly and RealtyBeacon.
Beamly, marketed by real estate tech firm BrightDoor, allows you to direct potential buyers to an external website or Beamly-specific content on the BrightDoor dashboard. By the time you read this, Beamly will be available both on iOS (Apple) and Android mobile devices. The real estate app was inspired by similar Bluetooth-based uses in other industries, including in-stadium entertainment at Major League baseball games. Beamly limits the occurrence of false triggers by transmitting signals when a smartphone comes within 50 feet of a beacon, and users can shrink this range even further to make sure that consumers are in just the right spot to appreciate the information. BrightDoor believes Beamly will be especially useful in open houses: for example, a buyer touring a home could, when they reach a specific spot, learn about a specific floor finish or in a dining room or tray ceiling in a master suite.
RealtyBeacon is currently available on iPhone, and is planning an Android version soon. RB directs consumers to a particular website when they come within range of a beacon. This platform has a longer range than Beamly – 100 feet – but, unlike Beamly, cannot be modified.
At the moment, consumers must have Bluetooth enabled on their smartphones or tablets, must have the Beamly or RB app installed on their devices, and have a device with the latest Bluetooth technology.
Trulia has implemented a similar feature in its mobile apps for homebuyers to set up real-time alerts.
Real estate marketing gurus view “micro location” technology as a new and highly useful tool for targeting buyers in an extraordinarily specific way.